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Argentina – Mendoza online gaming sparks controversy

By - 8 October 2014

The Institute of Gaming and Casinos (IPJC) of the province of Mendoza has awarded local company HFC Ingeniería SLR the contract to run their new  website, which opens up the way for a possible expansion of the online market.

The resolution calls for an “eventual activation” of online games and grants the company a fee of 38.5 per cent of net on money generated by the site.

The issue of online gaming has been a controversial one in the province and marks a distinct change of police for the local government. In 2013 the government proposed the implementation of online quinela as well as the installation of VLT’s locally but the opposition demanded that both initiatives be curbed. Then in December last year Governor Francisco Perez signed a decree repealing laws which would have permitted the expansion of online gaming locally.

Head of the IPJC told local press that the resolution creates conditions for the development of online gaming in the future, but said no new games will be announced until the present governor’s term of office ends.

A tender for a new website was launched in order to allow for more transparency for the local gaming industry and to show how money generated from gaming is used for developing sports in the region and for supporting the local health service. Local laws state that 35 per cent of gaming net revenue is destined for sport and health programmes which when combined amounts to around 8m pesos a month.
However the move has sparked controversy this week with two local lawmakers reacting strongly to the announcement. Senator Gustavo Valls has called for a ‘freeze’ of gaming in Mendoza while Armando Camerucci has announced his intention to block any more games which are given the green light by the IPJC.

Online gaming in Argentina is limited under current rules and only a very small number of local interactive betting sites are permitted to offer their services and, then, only in the province where they operate. The first legally established online sports book went online in Argentina in March 2006.

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